Monday, 14 August 2006

Convergence of IP and Fibre Channel

I'm working on Cisco fibre channel equipment at the moment. As part of a requirement to provide data mobility (data replication over distance) and tape backup over distance, I've deployed a Cisco fabric between a number of sites. Previously I've worked with McDATA equipment and Brocade (although admittedly not the latest Brocade kit) and there was always a clear distinction between IP technologies and FC.

Working with Cisco, the boundaries are blurred. There are a lot of integrated features which start to blur the distinctions between the two technologies. This I guess should be no surprise with the history of Cisco as the kings of IP networking. What is interesting is to see how this expertise is being applied to fibre channel. OK, so some things are certainly non-standard. For example, the Cisco implementation of VSANs is certainly not a ratified protocol. Connect a Cisco switch to another vendor's technology and VSANs will not work. However VSANs are useful for segmenting both resources and traffic.

As things move forward following the Brocade/McDATA takeover (is it BrocDATA or McCade?) the FC world is set to get more interesting. McDATA products were firmly rooted in the FC world (the implementation of IP was restricted to a separate box and not integrated into directors) - Brocade seem a bit more open to embracing integrated infrastructure. Keep watching, it's going to be fun....

No comments: